Facebook Filtering Fake News In Germany

Posted by Arnt Eriksen in PR – January 17, 2017

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Later this year, Germany will hold their federal election where they'll elect members of the German parliament. Fearing misinformation will have an impact on the result of the election, Germany has urged Facebook to add a fact-check button to reduce the spread of fake news.

The story has been covered by many news sites already, and for good reason. During the US presidential election Facebook received a lot of criticism for not actively countering the spread of fake news stories. Many would argue that these stories influenced the outcome of the election because it was hard to tell if the articles were fake or not, and because people love to read headlines that promote their pre-existing opinions. But now, Facebook shows us that they’ve learned from their mistakes, and I personally believe that this is a great and socially conscious initiative. Not only can Facebook combat the spread of misinformation, but they can promote a better fact-checking culture on the internet.

Corrective is a non profit fact-checking organization that will work together with Facebook to overview disputed posts. There are currently 43 fact-checkers, and all of them have to sign up to Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principal, which certainly gives the initiative more credibility.

The fact-checking button is, to me, one of the better features that I’ve seen from Facebook in recent years. What I love about it is the fact that Facebook encourages their users to help them flag suspicious posts, as I imagine Facebook could just as easily have removed every disputed post before you even saw them. I think it’s smart to invite your users to improve upon your product or service, because it includes them as a bigger part of the brand.

I look forward to see if the fact-checking button serves its purpose during the upcoming German federal election, and if it’s put to good use by the users themselves.